The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #132499   Message #3993487
Posted By: meself
22-May-19 - 05:17 PM
Thread Name: BS: Language Pet Peeves
Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
"If the 'suspect' is unconvicted, then it isn't reasonable to describe them as the 'perpetrator', as that has yet to be confirmed."


You're missing the point - which I realize I muddied with my parenthetical "(or at least, unconvicted)", but we don't have an 'edit' feature. The point is, if you say that a suspect broke in and killed somebody, and that John Smith is the suspect in question, you are saying that John Smith broke in and killed somebody. So much for 'presumption of innocence". It completely defeats the purpose of using the term 'suspect'. At the same time, you're saying, nonsensically, that whoever may have committed the murder is merely a 'suspect'. If, however, you say that a perpetrator/offender/assailant/criminal broke in and killed someone, and John Smith is the suspect, there is no confusion.